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El Niño's mature stage to end this February but impact will continue — PAGASA

The mature stage of the El Niño phenomenon is seen to end this February but its effects will still be experienced in the country, state weather bureau PAGASA said on Friday.

PAGASA climate monitoring and prediction section chief Ana Solis added that El Niño will start to decay around the March-April-May period.

“Kaya nga lang po kahit pahina na ang El Niño, yung impact naman na mararanasan natin dito sa ating bansa in terms of sectoral impact so yun naman ang medyo mararanasan natin, yung tindi nito dahil mayroon po siyang tinatawag na extension or land effect ng El Niño,” she said.

(Even though the El Niño is weakening, the intensity of its impact will still be experienced here in the country in terms of sectoral impact because it has an extension or land effects.)

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean leading to below normal rainfall.

On July 4, 2023, PAGASA declared the start of the El Niño phenomenon in the Tropical Pacific. Its effects started to be experienced in the Philippines.

PAGASA recently said that the number of provinces affected by El Niño decreased to 41 from 50.

Among the affected provinces, drought is still being experienced in Apayao, Benguet, Cagayan, Cavite, Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Kalinga, La Union, Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan, and Pangasinan.

PAGASA defines drought as having three consecutive months of way below normal rainfall conditions with over 60% reduction from the average rainfall.

It could also be five consecutive months of below normal rainfall conditions with 21% to 60% reduction from the average rainfall.

As of February 17, a total of 7,094 farmers and fisherfolks as well as 5,466 hectares of crops were affected by the El Nino effects, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

Damage to agriculture worth P254,899,602 was also reported.

Water shortage was encountered in Himamaylan in Negros Occidental and Zamboanga City in Zamboanga del Sur. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News